As noted by Bookslut and Largehearted Boy, Friday there's an open casting call for the movie version of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Here, in, of all places, Pittsburgh, where they will be shooting the film.
So I promptly read the book, because I plan to show up at the open call. We're supposed to dress early/mid 1980s. Which is a little funny, because while the book was written then, it isn't really set then, except perhaps for its cavalier, pre-AIDS sexual mores. So I've been thinking about 1980s style. And, well, Adam Ant.
While Adam Ant does make an appearance in the book (via lyrics), I admit I watched more than one of his old videos, entranced by the true original Jack Sparrow. Actually, I meant to be getting to some questions about the movie-i-zation of TMOP. Those questions -- including spoiler elements -- after the jump.
I'd say The Mysteries of Pittsburgh has 4 main characters and 2 secondary characters. We have
Art Bechstein, our narrator
Arthur Lemcomte, Art's best friend, sometime pursuer & Gatsby-slash-Allen Ginsberg figure to Art
Cleveland, Arthur's longtime friend & Neal Cassady figure to Art
Phlox, Art (not Arthur's) girlfriend
Art (not Arthur's) dad
Jane, Cleveland's girlfriend
The story goes something like: Art meets Arthur, then Phlox and Cleveland and Jane, 20-something adventures ensue. Phlox and Art have a love affair, Arthur may have designs on Art, Art has problems with his dad, Cleveland has problems with the law, Art gets hot for Arthur, things fall apart.
So what do we know about the casting? The film stars Peter Sarsgaard (love!) and Sienna Miller (pretty). Do they play Art, the narrator, and his lover Phlox? Nope. imdb says:
A peek at wikipedia, which is probably on track, says...
If you're wondering, Where's Arthur? I've found the answer. Director/adapter Rawson Marshall Thurber tells Pajiba:
I suppose the most glaring change is the removal, whole cloth, of Arthur Lecomte from the story. In the novel, there’s this sort of a four-pointed love rhombus — for lack of a better term — between Art, Arthur, Phlox and Cleveland. I felt strongly that in order for the film to function properly, it needed a more efficient and more cinematic engine — in short, a love triangle. So I eliminated Arthur from the narrative and folded in important elements of his character into Cleveland’s and moved from there. I think the result really gives the story the momentum needed in the medium.
Hmmm. I imagine the "important elements" of Arthur's character that remain are the ones that get Art hot and bothered, so at least the sexuality across boundaries makes the cut. But having just finished the book, I thought the story needed Arthur, that he was kind of Virgil to Art's Dante -- for a post-college summer, instead of hell. Oh well. I suppose I shouldn't miss him if Chabon doesn't.
And if anyone can play a character that is Cassady-ish and Ginsberg-ian all at once, it's probably Peter Sarsgaard.